The Malawi National Assembly has passed an Act requiring all local broadcasting houses play 70 percent of local music and 30 percent foreign music.
The House on Thursday agreed to the motion moved by Mary Navicha member for Thyolo Thava to empower domestic music and was supported by MP for Blantyre City South Constituency Allan Ngumuya.
The motion found its way came back again in the House through Navicha after it was turned back last week Thursday when Ngumuya who drafted it was denied to present the motion in the House because he is an interested party as he is also a musician.
“We need to promote our Malawian music and support our local musicians,” stressed Navicha when presenting the motion in the House.
“Our artists are really suffering yet they put much effort to produce their art but sadly at the end they get nothing,” she observed when speaking in an interview with Nyasa Times.
Ngumuya said music career was not rewarding to talented Malawians, saying he is a living example with “15 albums to my credit , but with little money in the bank.”
The Ministry of Civic Education and Culture will take responsibility of ensuring that the agreed Act becomes effective policy and is enforced.
Patricia Kaliati, Minister of Civic Education and Culture, who will be responsible for implementation of the Policy said this motion is a welcome idea and it shows that “our members of parliament are really passionate with skills that our artists are having and how
they are also promoting the economy of the country” by imparting such skills to youth and create employment.
She said what remains is a policy to give her Ministry a direction that guide how it will follow up the airplay of 70 percent local music and 30 percent foreign music.
However, she noted that the only challenge now is the willingness of local broadcasting houses to commit themselves to pay royalties to artists.
She said a lot of artists die poor because of this problem and that currently both private and public broadcasting houses “owe artists over K120 million.”
But she expressed optimism that this motion will empower the ministry to force the broadcasting houses pay royalties to the artists even to beneficiaries (bereaved families of artists).
“It is really pathetic from what I have heard that some of them [artists] have passed on without getting their royalty and they ended up being beggars yet they have their royalties from different radio stations. But this is a good motion which we have just passed in
parliament. What we are looking forward is to start implementing because it is now an Act as we are speaking” she said
Kaliati has emphasised that her ministry will work with Copyright Society of Malawi (CoSoMa) on this Act pushing broadcasting houses to start paying the royalties owed to artists.
And warned that “If they don’t want then we will sue them.”
She also spoke at length that this policy will assist the implementation of the recently passed copyright law in fighting piracy which has greatly choked the music industry in the country.
Dowa West MP Kusamba Dzonzi told parliament that the motion was commendable.
“We seem to be finding things which are foreign more attractive and important than our own things. We need to start promoting our own culture,” said Dzonzi.
Chitipa South MP Werani Chilenga suggested that the private radio stations should not be included calling for an amendment to isolate only the tax-funded national broadcaster MBC.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :